Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas Sugar Cookies

Last year, I hosted a cookie decorating party for my friends and family to decorate Christmas-themed sugar cookies for the holidays. It was so much fun, I decided to do another one this year. Like last year, I used Alton Brown's sugar cookie recipe because it is hands down the yummiest sugar cookie EVER - light and buttery with a great crumb texture, it's also perfect for cutout cookies since it keeps it's shape really well. I can go on and on about how literally everybody tells me they looooove these cookies (unless they're all lying to me to be kind) and how fondant is the perfect sweet complement to this cookie but just take my word for it, m'kay?

I had to bake 140 5-inch cookies for the party which roughly translates into 7 double-batches of cookie dough. That's a whole lotta cutting and rolling folks! There never seems to be enough hours in a day so I'm always looking for ways to be more efficient, especially with processes. And as much as I love Alton Brown (he's my culinary hero), there was no way I was making his recipe exactly the way it is printed. Since the dough is too soft to be rolled and cut immediately after mixing, AB recommends that we refrigerate the dough for 2 hours before rolling it out with powdered sugar. I got to thinking, if the end product is a chilled rolled piece of dough, why not find a way to roll it out before you chill it? That way, it'll be ready for cutting immediately afterwards. So I forgo the powdered sugar and roll it out between two pieces of parchment paper (so it doesn't stick to your rolling pin) and shove it in the freezer for about 10 minutes....yup, you heard me....the freezer....10 minutes. I've made these cookies using both methods and I'm happy to report that there is absolutely NO difference in taste =D. And the bonus: not rolling with powdered sugar means that the leftover dough pieces you re-roll have the same consistency as the original batches.

Tip: Cookies with uniform thickness look better and bake more evenly. I've used baking height strips on either sides of the dough to ensure a consistent height but you can use just about anything (two strips of wood, cardboard, notebooks, etc.) to guide your rolling pin as long as they're the same height on both sides.

Alright, enough about rolling dough, let's see the final results. Since a lot of these were made to be gifted, we made stockings and ornaments that were customizable with names. There were 5 children under 12 at the party and they were each given a few cookies to decorate. Here are some of their creations - not bad, right?
Some cookies my girlfriends decorated, very impressive :D.
And some cookies decorated by me :-)
I didn't post them all here so you can check out the rest here.
Decorating is one thing but cookies aren't giftable until they are packaged with a bow.Looking at these photos make my mouth water - they are seriously that yummy.
Lien Sanchez


1 comment:

Helen said...

These look really yummy and so neatly done! Hx